Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hunger moving closer to us all

Did you see the CNN story on last Monday about the growing number of Americans signing up for the Food Stamp program?

Here's a taste of the report, "Touigh Choices for America's Hungry":

As Walter Thomas knows, it's hard to look for a job when your stomach is rumbling. The 52-year-old from Washington, D.C., started skipping meals in early January when his savings account was running dry and his kitchen cabinets were almost empty.

Thomas at first didn't want to turn to the United States' food safety net, the food stamp program, for help.

But after being laid off in July from what seemed like a steady job in sales at a furniture store, Thomas swallowed his pride and applied for the monthly food aid.

"It lets me think, 'OK, well, tomorrow I'll be able to eat. If nothing else, I'll be able to eat,' " he said.

With the national economy in meltdown, more Americans than ever are relying on the federal aid program to keep from going hungry. In October, more than one in 10 people -- about 31 million -- were using the food stamp program to get by, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

More recent numbers are not available, but advocates for the poor say the number of those in need of aid probably has increased since then.

Read the entire report here.

The report contains the photo above of little Samirah, 2, who asked her mom to take her picture to show that hungry people "are like everyone else."

Mounting an effective national response to the growing numbers of our fellow citizens who falling into poverty will be a challenge.

What do you think?

Are we up for the challenge?

What about your church or other faith community?

Is your group ready to get involved?

What do you intend to do personally?



rcorum said...

I am part of a church in a very blue collar area that is seeing its food pantry in need of almost constant replenishment. I know that is a small thing but especially at the end of the month we are able to offer people quiet a bit of food. I have even wondered if it would be practical for the church to raise a large garden for those in need. I don't care how bad the economy gets no one should ever go hungry in this country. I am a conservative, but when it comes to food there is just no good reason why this country cannot feed everyone.

Larry James said...

rcorum, the idea of a church sponsored "community garden" is fantastic. There is a robust community garden here in East Dallas where I live. There is a public school near my daughter's home that maintains a community garden as an educational tool for students. No reason why most churches couldn't have one. Our project in San Antonio, Urban Connection--San Antonio, sports a community garden maintained by the chiildren. If you start one at your church, let us know about it!

Chris said...

Just for the record, two year olds do not think or verbalize that way.

Larry James said...

Chris, I don't think I understand your point.

rcorum said...

I hate to say it, but I think I know what Chris is saying. Could a 2 year old process thoughts like the story says she did? Having said that Chris, I don't see how that changes anything about the need to feed people. In a figurative way sometimes I want to "ring your neck." I wish you would work harder to express your viewpoints where you don't leave yourself wide open for criticism. I believe you mean well and remember, this is coming from a conservative. I can only imagine what others might say.

Larry, our church owns over ninety acres of great land that is currently being rented out for soybeans. I mind is wondering about how we could better use the property.

rcorum said...

That should read, "my mind is wandering."

Anonymous said...


My best friend's daughter absolutely spoke like that when she was 2, much more like a 4 year old, than a 2 year old. She is super smart. Perhaps you need to be around more 2 year olds who are ahead verbally.

Larry James said...

rcorum, you have a great opportunity to use that land in a more productive manner. I'd love to talk to you about that! Caving out a couple of acres would do for a garden, but there are so many other things to do!

Chris, I can hear my little grandchildren at that age saying something like that or something that clearly meant that. And, certainly the sentiment is true.

Anonymous said...

Larry - I am writing to ask a question in response to Tuesday's topic of "where's the Pork". Can you and/or any one else explain to me how the Democrats giving 5.2 BILLION dollars to ACORN in the so-called Stimulas Bill - yes, you read it correctly - can possibly stimulate the economy NOW or EVER? You ask, "where's the Pork?". And I respond, "here's the Pork" and only a small slice of the Pork in the Give Away to Friends To Stimulate the Votes Bill. We should all be ashamed!

Larry James said...

Anon 10:16, my post was focused on what Dallas was asking to receive. I have read the 175-page document listing/describing the Senate changes to the House bill. Now I am working through the almost 800-page final bill. If you could be so kind as to refer me to the section of the bill that notes the ACORN funding, I'd be happy to respond. Otherwise, you'll have to wait until I read the entire bill. That could be a while! But, I am determined to do it.

Daniel Gray said...

In response to PORK questions...

First of all, no money is being directly handed over ACORN. The funding that some of the right-wing shock jocks are touting is in reference to neighborhood stabilization funding... which is available to both government entities and nonprofits to assist with neighborhood level projects. ACORN, as a nonprofit, would be eligible to apply for this funding, but nothing in the bill says anything about allocating money specifically to ACORN.

Second, the term golfcarts brings a loaded meaning. No one is using these to go golfing. They are small, zero-carbon emission vehicles used on many large campuses to get around to places when using a vehicle or walking would be incredibly time-consuming and inefficient.

Debate the merits of their inclusion in a stimulus bill, but don't get all your news from mainstream media or you'll be inheriting the partisan rhetoric of whoever you're listening to.

The text of the joint committee's version which was adopted can be found here: